It’s hard to believe we are already thinking about running through the winter and colder months. Just a few months ago, we were thinking about running through the heat. Now we are worried about running through the winter, staying warm and staying on track through the Holidays.
As someone who went to college in upstate New York, I’ve run in my fair share of winter weather. Up there sometimes winter temperatures would dip below -30 and peak at 10 degrees.
I was able to maintain my fitness through the colder months and PR at several half marathons in the spring. It took a lot of trial and error, but I was able to adjust workouts accordingly.
The best advice for running through the winter is to be flexible. If you have to run indoors, change your workout days, or cross train, don’t be afraid!
Here are some other helpful pieces of advice:
1) Layer up
The general rule of thumb is to dress as if it’s 20 degrees warmer. You want to be warm without sweating so much you get a chill. Too much sweat can over-cool and cause hypothermia. Start with a moisture-wicking base layer followed by a long sleeve and finally a wind or waterproof jacket.
2) Change after your run
If you remain in your damp clothes, you will get cold after a run. It doesn’t matter that you’re sitting in your warm house. It’s important to change directly after your run. Even in -30 degrees, your body sweats.
3) Keep your shoes dry
After running through the cold and wet slush, dry your shoes out quickly by balling up a newspaper and putting it into your waterproof running shoes. That way your shoes stay in the appropriate shape and dry quickly. Do not put them in the dryer as that changes the structure of the shoe!
4) Don’t forget to hydrate
In the colder weather, it can be hard to remember that we need to stay hydrated. You are typically losing as many liquids in the winter as the summer, so do n’t forget to stay hydrated like it’s the summer months. You should be taking in fluids before, during and after a run.
5) Stay safe while running in the roads
Sometimes the sidewalks aren’t plowed, and we have to run in the road. It’s important as a runner to stay safe while in this situation. Make sure you have appropriate reflective gear and are running against traffic.
Pay attention at intersections and possible blind spots caused by the tree line or plowed snowbanks. It’s your responsibility as well to stay safe while running. Never soley rely on drivers.
6) Don’t be afraid of the treadmill
Even in a snowstorm, the treadmill is still operational. You can get quality miles on the treadmill without worrying about slipping and falling or being cold. Change your mentality about the treadmill. Instead of calling it the “dreadmill,” use the treadmill.
Find a friend you don’t get to run with often and run side by side. Or find a TV show you have wanted to watch. While the treadmill can be a more boring route, if you find something to keep you entertained the miles will click away.
7) Adjust your workouts
Sometimes the weather has other plans. Don’t be afraid to adjust your running plans. If it’s snowing, icy or inclement conditions, it’s okay to change your run to an easy run.
8) Add cross training
Don’t be afraid to add indoor biking, strength work (in fact those will benefit you!) or other cross training throughout the winter. There is no point in being miserable outdoors.
Remember, the weather is temporary. Like anything, there will be both good and bad days. Adjust your schedule appropriately, and you will make it through the season healthy and ready to set Spring PRs.
Who knows, you might even set Winter PRs too.